BJ’s Standout Reads February 2023
The Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White What an awesome way to start February, which I like to call the longest month even though it’s the shortest. This is the story of a storied mansion in Newport, RI. I’ve driven and walked by these mansions a zillion times and imagined what it must have been like to live in one back in the day. It blew my mind one night when I was walking around there that these massive stone homes were all built before the Newport Bridge was built in 1969. So that means that all the construction materials had to be carried over by ferry. Anyway, the story is told from three perspectives: Ellen in the late 1800s who works in the mansion as the music teacher to help the young heiress of the house attract and marry an Italian prince. The other point of view is of the heiress’ granddaughter in the 1950s, and then the last is of a reality show host who is doing a renovation on the mansion for her show in 2019. Over the course of the renovation the reality show host starts to get the vibe that this family has some literal skeletons in the closet. In the other time lines we learn how those skeletons got there. Fascinating read.
As Seen on TV by Meredith Schorr This one was super cute. Adina is a journalist from New York City who goes to a small town in upstate New York to chase a story. A developer is building a condo/retail complex and she suspects it will mess with the small businesses in town. So she goes there chasing her story, only to find that this is not the case and the people who live in the town are actually happy that this development is happening. Her magazine is demanding a story, but the one she thought of isn’t there. And also, the small town mentality that she always fantasized about from her steady diet of Hallmark movies isn’t there either. She ends up being disappointed that there’s no story, and the town doesn’t live up to her expectations at all. She still needs to come up with a story, when she meets the man who is the project manager of the development and starts to fall for him. This was truly a unique story, and I loved it.
Seven Dirty Secrets by Natalie D. Richards It’s Cleo’s birthday. She’s home alone and in the shower when someone leaves a birthday present on the sink in the bathroom. She opens it and it’s a clue. She asks all her friends and her boyfriend who left it and none of them have. With the help of her best friend Hope she tries to solve the clue and they get sent on a scavenger hunt all over Cleveland Ohio. The clues all pertain to the time with her abusive former boyfriend who died on a canoeing trip their friend group took. If she doesn’t play the game and solve the clues, whomever is running the game will threaten to expose her for murdering Declan, the former boyfriend. Super interesting book definitely kept me interested, very fast pace.
BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.
added on 02.28.23